Friday, December 23, 2011

studies and drawings

Here is a sampling of bits from the studio these days.  I've been so busy with life and everything, I haven't had as much time as I'd like to work.  But I have been getting what I can done.  Here's one Sebbie drawing:

I hadn't finished a drawing in a long time, possibly since I was in school, and it was really interesting to do so.  I found myself remembering all my bad habits, and seeing my work as much as an instructor as a student--which makes me think I should do this more often.  Speaking of schooling, I've been doing some studies of Sargent's children's portraits, in an effort to become as comfortable with painting children as I'd like to be.  Here is one:  

I haven't been finishing these studies to a point where they are very exciting to show other people, but rather have been doing the quickly, trying to get as much for myself out of the exercise as possible.  So, that's the news from the studio.

Monday, November 28, 2011

December show

I just spent a lovely week in the DC area.  I was lucky enough to get to visit Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA.  Should you be in the area, look for the upcoming Holiday Small Works Show opening December 3rd, the following will be there:

To Sea, 9x9"

Sebbie and the Frog, 9x11"

Spouts, 12x8"

Scrolls, 11x9"

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I've been busy, although not as much in the studio as I'd like.  Lately I have been working on several paintings simultaneously, and I thought I should break out of my hermit-like tendency long enough to post a few--although, in the end, it turns out there are only two I am actually willing to post in their unfinished state.  So, without further ado, as they say:

still life with instruments (working title), oil on panel, in progress


Street scene with two little kids, and a preparatory drawing study.  Oil on panel, and pencil, respectively.

The little girl's face is killing me in the painting of it, I have now wiped it out and started over more times than I can count.  I'm sure I'll get it eventually.  The other paintings I'm not posting are also street scenes, and they're all quite small in scale.  I'm finding people, especially faces, on a tiny scale particularly challenging.  But many of the paintings I see as preliminaries to larger works, and as a roll of canvas arrived yesterday, they soon may be.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Studio light!

The curtains are up!  The light is beautiful.  Now, to make some paintings.  I started one today, a still life with some instruments.  It's been so long since I worked on a proper still life, it feels very good to be back at it. 

Here is the very, very rough sketch of a start of the new painting:

Monday, September 19, 2011

the makings of a studio

It's been slow going getting the new studio set up for painting. Or maybe it's been a normal speed, but for someone who's been without a studio for so long, the time seems to be dragging.  It does seem, at last, to be coming together, or at least the end is in sight.  Here are a few more pictures:

Corner of the studio amassing still life objects: 

Working area:

Black-out curtain installed in one (of two) of the direct light windows:

Today I broke out the paints and did a little study of some flowers.  I really should have been finishing the sewing of the other black-out curtain, but I think my brushes missed me. 

Corner of the study I did of sunflowers today:

The rest of the painting was rather a flop, but this corner had some redeeming qualities.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Just a note to say to look for my work at Principle Gallery's Affordable Art exhibition opening Friday, September 16th!  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New Studio

New Studio.  

I'm still in the process of setting up. I need to get some curtains for the windows to get the light right for painting, but I'm so excited about the space, and just how much space I now have!  A proper studio again at last.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A new home for my brushes

In happy news, I'm soon to be a member of the Waltham Mills Artists Association, and the proud new occupant of a beautiful studio space. I'm so excited about the space and all the work I will be able to do there, I can barely contain it.

On an unrelated note, I will also be teaching painting classes at the Boston Center for Adult Education, starting in September. You can still enroll!

And as a third, and final, note, children are tricky subjects. And so I continue to practice:

Sunday, August 7, 2011


I've been working on finishing things lately. I'm due to move, again, at the end of the month, so set-ups must come down, paintings must be dry, brushes must be packed away, etc. etc. Today I worked on this fellow:

I think it's nearly done.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Today I did a little study of flowers.

My favorite part is the top, right hand corner:

That is all.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I've been working on my self portrait lately. I can't say it's been going terribly well. Every time I set out to work on it I'm hit by an overwhelming desire to move everything, i.e. change the position of the head, the hands, the shoulders, etc. And I've yielded to the desire, starting each day as if from scratch. I like to believe that it was at least a good exercise along the way. For a while it seemed I was inadvertently channelling Pontormo or Parmigianino, giving myself an absurdly long neck. I also toyed with poses that left my hands out of the frame, as hands are hard enough to paint when they're being held still and not in constant motion. I've decided, however, to stick out the current pose, as the realization that this painting could very well continue forever has sunk in. It has a long way to go yet, but hopefully, now that I've stopped changing things around, it may progress at a normal rate.

So here it is, version five-hundred million, give or take:

Next session I tackle the hands.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I went landscape painting this afternoon with a friend in Cambridge. The weather was odd for landscape painting, as it was rather hazy, and the light bright but not consistent. But it's good to be painting landscapes again fairly regularly, as it's been awhile and I definitely feel out of practice.

Here is my study of the end of the Weeks bridge:

And here's a sketch of a pond I did the other day:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Weekend on the beach

I spent this weekend with friends on Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod. It was sunny and warm and about as near perfect as a few days can be. The Cape part I spent in the company of friend and fellow painter, Christie Stewart, and this morning we got up early and walked to a lovely little pond and set up our easels on the beach.

My set up
(Here you can see me working very hard, clearly laying in front of my easel, feet up):

Here's the study of the lovely little pond (which I jumped into as soon as I cleaned up my paints):

I find painting still water with reflections particularly hard, because it's so easy to make it look cheesy. I also find it particularly hard to paint big clumps of trees where the individual silhouettes of the trees are not visible. So, brilliantly, with this painting, I set myself up with a subject I find doubly tricky. But for a study, I do not think it so terrible in the end.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I started a new piece today. The bits on the left are broken scrolls from violins and a cello, I realize they're not quite obvious yet. Here she is:

Day one:

Friday, June 3, 2011

Kiddie studies

A couple studies of children for paintings-to-be (pardon the weird shadows on the paper):

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I told myself I had to finish at least one painting this weekend. I choose the elephant and watering can because it seemed the mostly likely to get done, and I hoped the energy sparked from actually completing something might carry over into the rest of my work. I'd argue it's not quite finished, but the end is in sight, which is encouraging, not the least because I have several other painting ideas I would like to be able to start.

That this painting is being difficult is my own fault. It is considerably more difficult to paint a still life with a white background than a darker one, and I created such a simple set up, that it became quite vital for the painting to be interesting as a painting as well as an image. But I really liked the two trunks, or spouts, of the objects, facing each other, and the negative spaces highlighted by the white background seemed like too much fun not to paint. Looking at the photograph now I'm realizing I'll have to repaint the elephant's feet again, as they still don't seem to rest on the table top. I guess I'm back to the studio.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Today I hopped the train to Salem and wandered out to Winter Island. It was a fantastic and well needed day on the beach. I even roused myself from my ocean and sun-drunk stupor long enough to do a quick pencil sketch of some rocks along the shore. Tomorrow is back to the studio and my long neglected paintings.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Unintended variations

I know I haven't posted in awhile. Truth be told, I've hardly painted in as much time. There have been various things demanding my time instead, and I gave it to them, because they were more important, but I wish I had had more time to paint. This blog is very much intended to be about my painting, to give an inside view of it, to show my processes, to answer questions as to the paintings' evolution and perhaps to provide a more inclusive biography than what can be fit into an artist's statement. It was not intended to be about my personal life beyond what is relevant to my work, so imagine my surprise in discovering just how wrapped up my painting is in my personal life. I now expect an artist who can compartmentalize the two is creating soulless art; if one removes the experiences, character, thoughts, or emotions of the artist from the equation, surely we might as well have computers do the work for us. But I'm being tangential in my ramblings. All the preamble was merely an introduction to a few updates on my self portrait, which is going rather peculiarly, and rather poorly. My personal life has been complicated lately, and it seems I'm hard pressed to keep this from showing up in a painting, much less a self portrait. But I promised I'd continue to post it, if only to shame myself into putting the work in to pull a decent painting out of it in the end. So here goes:

This is the stage I left it weeks ago, having put in another day after the image in the last post:

This is what happened three weeks later when I got back to the painting and decided the original was boring:

And this is maybe an hour later when I decided I'd actually prefer to be a Hindu God:

And this is where I left off, having decided I look silly without my glasses, even when I hardly resemble myself:
Any day now I intend to stick with a pose and get the drawing down correctly. I keep telling myself it's all good exercise, which I do know to be true. But we finally, at long last, have warm weather here, which increases my ability to deal with life like no other factor, so I expect I can stop taking things out on my paintings. Hurrah for summer.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Glorious imperfection

I started a self portrait the other day, and it was fabulous. The painting of a portrait, that is, rather than the painting itself. I've been working on still life after still life for so long now, I was dying to work on something else. And as hiring a model isn't in the cards for me just now, I went for the self portrait. I was so excited to be working on a figure again, however, I neatly skipped over most of the requisite beginning stages. That is to say, I started full-out painting without ever having solidified the drawing. Day two will be a headache of cursing my own impatience and trying to rework the drawing. C'est la vie. I also have a decided reluctance to show my in-progress paintings, or even the finished work for that matter, when they contain people. And as I'm very much in favor of ridding myself of irrational fears, such as the fear that the painting may be such a terrible failure I'll lose the ability to paint forever, I'm making myself post the following image, in all its glorious imperfection.

Block in of a self portrait:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Out of darkness

It was rather dark and dreary today, which in some ways is ideal weather, or light really, for still life painting. Except, if it gets too dark, as it really did today, one ends up squinting into obscurity, trying to make out anything of ones painting. I started a new painting anyway, but you'll have to pardon the images, as many are slightly blurry; my camera did not like the darkness either.

Day one, block-in: